A. How can I find out if my water is clean?
Typically water is tested with a hands-on approach. People gather water samples, bring these samples to a lab and perform the necessary tests. After a period of time, which, in some cases, maybe days there is a test result. SecureWaters’ AquaSentinel provides a real-time analysis within minutes.
B. How does the AquaSentinel work?
The AquaSentinel relies on natural phenomena to provide an elegant solution for monitoring surface waters, using a naturally existing biosensor – green algae. Green algae exist in all surface waters exposed to sunlight. As toxins are introduced into the water, the photosynthetic process is altered. Specific toxins alter the photosynthetic process in specific ways. The AquaSentinel monitors changes in fluorescence induction from the naturally occurring algae in order to identify specific toxins affecting them.
C. Does the AquaSentinel use any potentially toxic chemicals?
No, the AquaSentinel uses only light at a specific wavelength to read the algal health. No chemicals are introduced into the water.
D. Are there any side effects?
Because the AquaSentinel works without chemicals it does nothing to the water it is monitoring. The already present algae are briefly introduced to a high intensity light source which induces photosynthesis in all receptors – this is effectively a stress test, which we monitor in order to understand the biological capabilities of the cells.
E. Can I use the AquaSentinel in my pool?
No. The AquaSentinel relies on the presence of naturally occurring algae to relay the water quality. Most pools are chlorinated or otherwise treated to remove the algae which would normally grow. As such, the AquaSentinel has no method for detecting the water health. In a natural body of water, this level of chlorine would be considered harmful and would result in an alert from the AquaSentinel.
F. Will AquaSentinel protect my tap water?
No. The AquaSentinel monitors surface waters which are often source waters for drinking water treatment plants. However, once the water has been treated – specifically, once the algae has been killed and/or removed – the AquaSentinel is no longer able to provide water quality readings. However, the AquaSentinel can be used upstream or near the water intake of a treatment plant and help the water utility monitor the quality of the water before it enters the facility.
H. What about false positives?
The AquaSentinel measures water quality against a database of known good, and toxic, samples that is continually being updated. The system looks for deviations from normal and for matches to known toxins. While a particular suspect toxin may not be in the database, it’s impact causes an abnormal thumbprint which generates an alarm message. AquaSentinel also attempts to match the thumbprint to the closest known toxin and deliver a percentage match. Much like the security system in your home, it is the job of the experts – water quality specialists in our case – to positively ID and catch the offender.
I. Can I purchase my own AquaSentinel?
Yes, AquaSentinel units can be deployed at any location including at the local park, marina, or shoreline of your choice. Contact SecureWaters through our website to let us know if you’re interested in placing a local AquaSentinel or helping launch a campaign in your community.
J. Who monitors the AquaSentinels?
At the fundamental level, the AquaSentinel monitors itself. AquaSentinel is designed to be an autonomous silent-sentinel which continually monitors the water, waiting for a toxin to appear so that it can sound the alert. At regular short intervals, the AquaSentinel samples the water, analyzes the data, matches the data against a library of good samples and known toxins, and returns a value showing the match against healthy water and the nearest known toxin. If the match exceeds a certain threshold, an alert is sent to assigned personnel via email or text.